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FALL SPORTS 2017: PAGE 11 PRESS & DAKOTAN n PLAIN TALK Young Tanagers Ready For Challenge Volleyball Team Boasts Just Two Seniors BY ELYSE BRIGHTMAN Elyse.brightman@plaintalk.net The two seniors on the Vermillion High School volleyball team will have some big shoes to fill after graduating a majority of the team from last season, according to Tanagers head coach Gabi Taggart. “We had a lot of seniors that helped lead us and Volleyball now we have 8/24 Wagner (late) a big role to 8/26 Canton Inv. 9 a.m. fill. There 8/29 at Lennox 7:30 p.m. 9/31 at South Sioux City 7:30 p.m. was seven 9/5 Bon Homme 7:30 p.m. of them and 9/7 at Tri-Valley 7:30 p.m. 9/12 Madison 7:30 p.m. only two of 9/16 Cavalier Clash 8:30 a.m. us now,” said 9/19 at Tea Area 7:30 p.m. Haley Doty, 9/26 at S.F. Christian 7:30 p.m. 9/28 West Central 7:30 p.m. one of the two 10/2 at Elk Point-Jefferson 7:30 p.m. seniors. 10/3 Dell Rapids 7:30 p.m. 10/10 Ponca 7:30 p.m. Many of 10/12 Canton 7:30 p.m. the starting 10/14 Dak. XII Conf. (Madison) 9 a.m. positions have 10/17 Beresford 7:30 p.m. 10/20 at Dakota Valley 7:30 p.m. been opened 10/31 Region 4A due to the 11/2 Region 4A 11/9 Class A Sweet 16 loss of such 11/16-18 State A (Rapid City) a large group of players, but returning to the court for the Tanagers are Emily Bye and Haley Doty, both of whom saw significant playing time in the 2016 season. Other spots will be taken up by some players who may not have the most experience at the varsity level. “We lost some of our main hitters, so we have some girls that maybe didn’t have as much playing varsity experience, but are going to get some varsity experience and they are going to have to step up and hit for us and just be smart,” Taggart said. Playing smart will be a key component for Vermillion since experience will not be the team’s strong point, but almost a week into practices and less than a week until opening night Taggart is pleased with the work the players are putting in. “They had really positive attitudes and I feel like that is going help us out a lot. If they have a positive attitude they are going to want to keep going and not give up and that, I think, is how we are going to win a lot of our games,” she said. Vermillion will look to dig and keep the ball in play to let their opponent make the mistakes, rather than sending big hits over the net. Staying positive and staying in the game mentally will also play a factor. “We don’t have really strong hitters like a lot of teams do, but we are going to be scrappy and try to play every ball,” Doty said. “In practice everyone had a really good attitude, so that is going to help a lot.” With Bye returning as the team’s libero keeping the ball in play will be the biggest part of her game, but the experience she brings to the court is a positive factor. This will be Bye’s third season as the libero and she’s been spending her own time this summer preparing for her last season. “She’s going to obviously lead the team for us, not only with her skills, but with her motivation and that sort of thing,” Taggart said. Doty will see a number of positions on the court this season as a versatile player. Lexie Saunders, a sophomore, came on as a substitute last season as a setter and will take on the VERMILLION Haley Doty is one of two returning seniors for the Tanagers, who opened their 2017 season on Aug. 24. VHS VB | PAGE 12 Experienced Lineup Returns For Tanager Football Squad of a full starting lineup of returning seniors that also includes Brody Surrell, Brett Culver, Trey Hage, Mitchell An injury-plagued 2016 season could be beneficial in Dougherty and Rylan Pratt just to name a few, but rethe long run for the Vermilgardless of how many returnlion High School football ing players there are, all have team. been eager to work hard at By the third game last year the Tanagers had seven practice in order to see some wins this season. starting players sidelined “The attitude at practice due to injury that caused is a lot different. We are actuhead coach Andy Homan to ally excited to be here and reach into the depth chart everybody is putting in effort, to fill the open spots. Those even junior varsity people all players, who otherwise may the way up to varsity,” Surrell not have seen much time on said. the field, played out most of The Tanagers have seen the season and are now back with significant experience to longer practices and even guests at an early morning contribute. practice that pushed them “It was a work in progharder than usual. ress,” said senior quarter“They’ve wanted to back Rylie Johnson about practice longer,” Homan said. last season. “It was a new “We had the marines come in learning experience for me (Monday) and run a course and hopefully I can build off last year and make this year a and when they got done they wanted to practice one more lot better.” Vermillion quarterback Riley Johnson throws a pass to hour. There is a lot more Johnson, threw for 815 Trey Hage. Johnson and Hage are two of 11 seniors on this yards last season, is just one leadership and great attitude BY ELYSE BRIGHTMAN Elyse.brightman@plaintalk.net year’s Tanagers’ squad. VERMILLION Football 8/25 at Lennox 7 p.m. 9/1 Dell Rapids 7 p.m. 9/8 at Tri-Valley 7 p.m. 9/15 Madison 7 p.m. 9/22 at Tea Area 7 p.m. 9/29 Dakota Valley 7 p.m. 10/6 at Chey.-Eagle Butte 5:30 p.m. 10/13 at Elk Point-Jefferson 6 p.m. 10/19 St. Francis 6 p.m. 10/26 Quarterfinals 11/3 Semifinals 11/11 11A Championship (Vermillion) already coming into this year and the guys know what they can do and they want to get to that point.” After a 1-8 season last year Homan is implementing a spread offense and use the speed of the running backs and compete with a more aggressive defense. “We have a lot of speed this year so we are going to try to use that to our advantage by spreading things out, getting more downhill running, taking the option out of the game and just getting pretty basic offensively, but it opens a lot more things up for us,” Homan said. Defensively, Vermillion will try to cut back on sacks and interceptions. Last year, Vermillion gave up 10 interceptions to seven touchdown passes. Johnson is hoping a quicker release of the ball, a solid defensive line and the team’s chemistry this year will help cut back on interceptions. The team’s speed in running back Pratt and the quick release of the ball puts the Tanagers in better position to see a few more points. “I threw a lot of interceptions last year, so I want to get better on that,” he said. “We didn’t have good chemistry and I think this year we are building on that so we can have a lot better chemistry so our team ‘clicks’ a lot better.” Pratt returns this year after leading the team in rushVHS FB | PAGE 12 Tanager Girls’ Tennis Team Excited For New Season BY ELYSE BRIGHTMAN Elyse.brightman@plaintalk.net EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Aug. 19 edition of the Press & Dakotan. Vermillion may not be the biggest school competing in South Dakota high school girls’ tennis, but the Tanagers are taking that in stride and looking to just have fun with the new season that opens Saturday in Yankton. “I think it’s when you are having fun with it, it helps you get motivated a little bit more to do better versus moping out on to the court,” said senior Alex Rosdail. Vermillion has struggled in VERMILLION Girls’ Tennis (0-2) 8/19 Yankton Quad 0-2 8/22 Mitchell Tri. (late) 8/31 Harrisburg 4 p.m. 9/5 Madison/Aberdeen noon 9/7 at Yankton 4 p.m. 9/8 Brandon Valley Inv. 9 a.m. 9/12 Lennox 4 p.m. 9/14 Yankton 4 p.m. 9/21 Madison 4 p.m. 9/28 at Washington/Lincoln/ Aberdeen Roncalli 12:30 p.m. 10/5-7 State (Sioux Falls) the past in the wins category which can be emotionally defeating, but a new coach this season looks to have fun while seeing progress even if that still means a small amount of wins. Brock Fehr, who finished his first season at Vermillion last spring as the boys’ head coach, is taking on the girls’ team and has been working the team on technical drills, serving and doubles play. “I expect to see a few wins, not a huge amount, but a few,” Fehr said. “I know that last year they were able to beat some of the other schools and I really think they can do it again and maybe even more. Just seeing if they can improve on whatever they can do.” Rosdail says Fehr is all about having fun with the game regardless of the outcome. “You want to do well, but it’s also about really loving the sport and having a good time regardless of if you do well,” she said. While having fun is a main goal, Fehr is also expecting to see some improvement through the season that will bring them into the state tournament in October. “Everybody in the team right now was on the team last year, so I just expect to have a good year. So far they are having a lot of fun and doing really well,” he said. “What I am really aiming for is just to see they will be able to progress through the year. I’m not going to push them too much, but I just want to see some progress.” The team is using an earlier start to the season and TENNIS | PAGE 12 Vermillion’s Brandi Styles returns a shot during doubles action against Rapid City Stevens in a girls’ tennis triangular on Aug. 19 in Yankton.
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